Monday, April 1, 2013

Homage to A. W. Pattiani


This building is one of several remaining A.W. Pattiani houses in Alameda and Berkeley.  The house had been significantly altered by additions and expansions on its west and north elevations, by the removal of original ornament and by the application of wood shingles over original wood siding and previously ornamented surfaces. The west addition included a wraparound porch where none previously existed, covered by a squat, glass-roofed pergola supported on classical style columns.  The result of the cumulative changes was a house that was no longer recognizable as an A.W. Pattiani Queen Anne.










The current owners wanted to restore the character of A.W. Pattiani’s original design as well as specific Pattiani signature ornamental details to the property. They also needed to address serious water intrusion problems and the ensuing damage that had developed on the wraparound porch.  It was not practical for the owners to consider giving up the previous western addition (which contains a dining room) and wraparound porch, but both additions were ornamentally inconsistent with the original design and created massing challenges to restoring the main facade. 








The solution to this dilemma was to restore the original portion of the structure as closely as possible based on existing Pattiani examples and historical photos, and to rebuild the deteriorated wraparound porch using a vocabulary more compatible with the original house.  This included adding a cupola that effectively conceals the awkward western addition while adding new ornament and massing in proportion to the original fa├žade.








Several months of painstaking structural work and ornamental carpentry were followed by a thorough paint job based in part on original colors exposed when shingles were removed. The new color design substantially reinforces the massing and ornamentation of the house exterior. The new porch conceals a steel moment frame that adds seismic stability to the structure, and porch and stair railings have been designed to comply with modern life and safety codes.